Character » Ringmaster appears in 287 issues.

    Ringmaster (Maynard Tiboldt) is a circus villain who gains control over people by hypnotizing them with his hat.

    Short summary describing this character.

    Ringmaster last edited by SlamAdams on 12/16/23 05:24PM View full history


    Ringmaster was once known as Maynard Tiboldt, from Europian decent, he witnessed the horrors of war. The only thing in his life that had brought him joy was the circus he would visit often as a child and in his young adult life. Eventually Maynard traveled to America to full-fill his dream, to start his very own circus. He gathered a group of formidable talents and started his own circus, traveling America. Financially things where however very rough, with his circus barley making ends meet. Maynard, now calling himself the Ringmaster, eventually thought of a different solution.


    Ringmaster was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in The Incredible Hulk Vol.1 issue 3 (1962).

    Major Story Arcs

    Becoming the Circus of Crime

    Although Ringmaster's dream was to have a true circus, financial troubles perverted his dream as they came to another solution. Ringmaster and his artistic talents agreed together to still perform as a circus, but Ringmaster would use his skills of great hypnotic powers for evil. Often, they would attract people to his circus only to place them under his hypnotic spell and rob them. Once, while attempting to do this he even had to gain complete control over Spider-Man. However when Daredevil came to the rescue, Ringmaster found he could not hypnotize him, as Daredevil is blind! But Ringmaster was not defeated, since he couldn't beat Daredevil, he used Spider-Man to do it. Spider-Man did not defeat Daredevil because he wasn't acting of his own free will. Daredevil took Ringmaster's hat and freed Spider-Man with it. Spider-Man then managed to overcome Ringmaster by keeping his eyes closed while fighting him, and so Ringmaster was once again defeated.

    Meeting Howard

    When the Ringmaster and his circus found Howard the Duck during their travels, they kidnapped him and hoped to use him in their act. Howard was not willing to do this, and when he remarked that Ringmaster's circus was a charade, it struck a nerve to Maynard. Later, one of Ringmaster's friends told Howard the back-story of the Ringmaster, giving him more compassion for his deeds.

    Primary Actions

    Thraller for President
    Thraller for President

    Ringmaster assumed a new identity of Martin Thraller and used his hypnosis in his campaign to be the Utilitarian Party nominee for U.S. President. Since his hypnosis power required direct eye contact, he wasn’t so good on the phone. However, he had high hopes for what he’d be able to accomplish on live television. He even made his major party rival commit political suicide in one of their debates. The more campaigning he did, the more he found he didn’t even need to use his powers to manipulate people.

    His Circus of Crime past would often come back to bite him. Princess Python shook him down for hush money, which he gladly paid. Money was no problem with his abilities, but his old clown teammate, Eliot Franklin, wanted him dead. When he set up a campaign event televised from Madison Square Garden, The Clown pounced. Ringmaster took a number of bullets from The Clown, but was ultimately saved by Nick Fury and a team of SHIELD agents.

    Fury had already deduced Ringmaster’s true identity. He took the assassination attempt as an opportunity to run a cover story of Martin Thraller’s death, while Ringmaster recovers until he is well enough to be sent to Seagate prison.

    Freedom Ring

    Ringmaster met Chen Hsu intending to buy a ring forged from the Cosmic Cube. Chen Hsu tried to discipline Ringmaster, but he soon found out that Ringmaster was more than his hat nowadays. He was able to mesmerize Hsu into catatonia and take the ring. With it, he was able to do more than hypnotize. He was able to warp reality to his liking. This brought him into direct confrontation with Moon Knight and Spider-Man.

    He caused a large explosion when he turned Spider-Man's webs into explosives. This explosion got the attention of nearby superheroes including Captain America, Wolverine, and Daredevil. He was getting the best of them until Punisher shot his finger off with a long range rifle from a rooftop. Captain America took the ring and went en route to delivering the ring to SHIELD.


    When Ringmaster was arrested for one of his many crimes, he was rejected by the Thunderbolts program and transferred to a prison in Northern Mississippi. Unfortunately, this prison was built on an old AIM toxic waste dump. This toxic waste increased his capabilities tenfold. He was now capable of mesmerizing someone psychically, as long as they could hear him. A side effect was that his brain increased in size, stretching and irritating his scalp.

    Power upgrade
    Power upgrade

    He used this new upgraded hypnosis to take over the prison and then the nearby town. He made them live in suburban bliss while he kidnapped the ones who fought against his mind control. They were sent to work in caves, mining samples of the toxic waste that other mind control townsfolk would synthesize into a serum that Ringmaster would have regular injections of.

    His hold on the town would be challenged when Luke Cage wandered in. He was on his way back to New York from a funeral in New Orleans. He was trying to get a quick bite when the waitress at the diner had a moment of clarity and asked Cage for help finding her imprisoned husband. This meant Ringmaster had to wipe Luke’s mind and throw him into the mine.

    When Luke rebelled against the guards, they tried to shoot him. His bulletproof skin ricocheted the bullet causing a cave in of the mine. That interfered with his connection to Ringmaster, giving him a big enough moment of clarity to realize that it was audio based. So, Luke tied part of his shirt around his head to muffle his hearing before breaking out and attacking the Ringmaster. He broke his jaw, stopping his new upgraded abilities from having any effect.

    In time, his brain and abilities would return to normal.

    Gang War

    Ringmaster eventually settled into New York City without his Circus of Crime. When Kingpin brokered a peace between gang leaders, Ringmaster was able to secure the Randalls and Wards Islands for himself, despite having no goons of his own. This was a problem when Hammerhead instigated a gang war to give the Maggia an opportunity to take the whole city back. He resorted to mesmerizing any civilians he met between his Islands and Crime-Master's Upper East side territory. His fight with Crime-Master's goons on loan from AIM was interrupted by Spider-Man and the team he put together in spite of the Anti-Vigilante Law. Elektra, active as Daredevil at the time, had a strong enough will to withstand his hypnosis and knocked him out cold.


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